By Max Clarke

Large scale investors are responsible for ‘land grabs’ of African soil totalling an area the size of France.

One Swiss company, Addax and Oryx, alone took some 20,000 hectares of land from Sierra Leone in order to grow bioethanol to sell to the EU.

The information was yesterday disclosed by the Californian think tank, the Oakland Institute, in a series of reports into the growing scandal of ‘land grabbing’.

In just one year an area the size of France was leased or sold in a largely unregulated manner to a host of western investors.

The grabs inevitably result in families being displaced, irrigation channels being cut without consideration for the environmental impacts, and thousands of privately owned, productive farms being forcibly cleared.

Food security and environmental conditions are all being irreparably damaged by the practice.

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